From Kobe to Maradona, a year of staggering losses in sports
Not long after came a seismic jolt, the helicopter crash of Kobe Bryant in the fog-shrouded California hills that reverberated across sports and across continents. Deep into the year, a bookend to Bryant, Diego Maradona died from a heart attack in Argentina weeks after brain surgery, the waves of grief rippling across soccer. The losses, of course, came against a backdrop of a pandemic, its number of fatalities rolled out daily on TV screens. Niekro won 318 games and pitched until he was 48, his knuckleball dancing and mystifying batters across the decades. Kurt Thomas in 1978 became the first U.S. male gymnast to win a world title but lost an Olympic shot in 1980 because of the boycott.
Former Illinois, New Mexico St coach Lou Henson dies at 88
I just think that Lou is probably the most underrated coach in college basketball, former Illinois and pro player Stephen Bardo said. And for years after Henson left the sidelines, he and his wife, Mary, were widely loved, unofficial ambassadors for both Illinois and New Mexico State and the towns where theyre located, Champaign, Illinois, and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Seriously who doesnt love him? said former NBA player Reggie Theus, who succeeded Henson at New Mexico State and considered him a mentor. Henson, a native of Okay, Oklahoma, played college basketball at New Mexico State in the early 1950s. A son, 35-year-old Lou Henson Jr., died in a 1992 car accident.